“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My dad taught me everything I know about art and beauty. After he passed away, I found it difficult to see much beauty. I was blinded—an artist's worst nightmare.

But with time, I realized that I honor him most when I see the world in the same curious, affectionate way that he did. I admire translucent new leaves unfurling on young branches; I laugh at the antics of squirrels on Spangler lawn; I pause in delight to watch how sunlight makes the crimson bricks of Aldrich glow—each moment is a chance to remember him.

My dad didn't just teach me how to capture life on paper. What he taught me was how to see the world with an artist's eye. He showed me that even mundane things can be beautiful. No dog was too mangy to be the subject of a quick sketch—the scruffier the better. And we never walked down a street together without stopping mid-conversation to point out how lovely a painting the view before us would make. He taught me that it is my duty as an artist to see beauty where others do not, so that I might capture that beauty and share it with the world.

I want to share this way of seeing with others. I will help others see beauty in the most humble of moments and look upon life with more kindness. I will remember always what my dad taught me: that if I look every day for ways to be delighted, then the world will reward me with joy and wonder.

— Dina Wang